The first thing that comes to mind upon meeting Liz Posmyk is professional – in every possible way. When you read her blog at Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things you know it’s not just her presence that tells you that, her blog is well written, interesting, informative and the photos are always striking.
Imagine my joy when I heard she was going to be in our group in Canberra for the Human Brochure project. We’d followed each other’s blogs for a while and I couldn’t wait to meet her. However, I was a bit hesitant because I considered her way better than I was and did all the, “Will she think I’m an idiot,” sort of questions in my head. Not for a minute. Liz lives in Canberra and has done so all her life and she couldn’t have been more welcoming to her city. We got on famously.
When we cranked up Food Writer Friday I knew I wanted her right in there. More people need to know about her writing, photography and her love of food.
Wonder why it’s Bizzy Lizzy’s Good Things? I wondered about that myself. The first two words are obvious. She’s Liz and she’s always busy but the Good Things on the end – that has a story.
In 1971 English columnist and food writer Jane Grigson wrote a book called Good Things. It’s a collection of essays and the book was an instant hit with Liz; so much so that she used that as her blog’s title. ” I think Jane Grigson would have been proud to know Liz.
Liz has a proud Hungarian Czech heritage that comes through in many of her recipes and often in her posts. Liz was born in Australia only a year after her parents migrated here. They left after the uprising. She remembers sitting at her mother’s table watching her cook and every word she speaks about her mother is filled with love. She and her mother would read scan cookbooks and magazines together, trying to decide what their next creation would be. What wonderful memories.
Look at that crochet work her mother did. It sounds like Liz’s mother was the mother every woman hopes to have. I asked Liz what sort of satisfaction producing a blog gave her rather than a hobby like crocheting. She laughed and said her mother loved to crochet but her food blog allows her to share her pick of what she thinks are darned good recipes with her readers. Plus she gets to combine her love of food and cooking with her natural talent for writing, photography and web design.
What I really wanted to know was how did she learn to write so beautifully and did she study creative writing in school. Not only did she teach herself how to write, she arrived in Australia as a child and had to learn English as a second language. She’s been writing essays and stories since childhood and began taking photos since the 1960s on an old-time Kodak camera. She admits to having a good eye and knows that good subject matter will result in good photos. She has moved up from the old Kodak days but still loves experimenting with photography.
Kitchen aromas bring so many memories back to me that I wanted to know Liz’s favourites.
“A double shot macchiato first thing in the morning! And then other good things like roast pork, bread, raisin toast, garlic and more.”
Folks that have food blogs spend a lot of time on each post and Liz is no exception. From shopping the local farmer’s markets, prepping, cooking, styling and photographing to the writing, every post can take half a day or more. Then she promotes her posts through Twitter so that everyone has a chance to read. She has a good blog. She promotes local farmers, producers and writers as well as other food bloggers and professionals.
Liz works full time as an office and events manager in Canberra, runs a popular blog, has a house and a partner to look after and on top of that she has a lovely garden. I love it when she posts photos of the things she’s grown herself and then cooked into some wonderful dish I can’t pronounce.
Her blog isn’t called Bizzy Lizzy for nothing, that’s for sure. She’s constantly on the move, and metaphorically juggling lots of pots on the stove-top. In 2012 she was awarded an Australia Day Achievement Medallion for her work in the Australian Public Service. One of the things on the certificate is ‘incredible energy’. No doubt!
When lots of Australian food bloggers went to Adelaide for a conference, Lizzy was quick to email everyone she knew to see if they were arriving early and could they meet for dinner. Always organizing. (there were lots of people for dinner)
When I asked Lizzy if she were to start her blog today would she do anything different, she replied:
“I would be more adventurous with my photography, definitely. Photography is a learning process and the more you do, the better your work can become.”
Ever since Liz was a little girl she has loved pumpkin strudel. It must be the Hungarian version of pumpkin pie and I feel the same way about that. That wonderful spicy sweet taste that instantly brings you back to childhood.
As an American I can understand a love affair with pumpkin. Its Autumn now and this pumpkin strudel is perfect for this time of year. If you’re in the northern hemisphere, bookmark it.
- 6 sheets Filo pastry
- light oil for brushing or spraying
- ⅓-1/2 cup breadcrumbs or rice crumbs*
- 1 teaspoon unsalted butter (optional)*
- ⅓ cup vanilla infused caster sugar
- ½-1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 cups raw grated pumpkin
- 1 teaspoon vanilla infused caster sugar, extra
- icing sugar, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F
- For the next step, there are two options. If you are working with breadcrumbs, melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the breadcrumbs and cook till golden brown.
- If you are using rice crumbs instead, there is no need to brown them in butter.
- Combine the grated pumpkin, buttered bread crumbs (or plain rice crumbs), sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Set aside.
- Lay the filo onto a tablecloth or clean tea towels and overlap the first and second layers slightly.
- Brush or spray the sheets of pastry with a little oil, then sprinkle a fine layer of the caster sugar over the pastry.
- Layer the sheets on top of each other.
- Spoon the pumpkin, sugar and crumb mixture along one narrow end of the pastry, leaving enough room around the edges for "tucking in".
- Fold over the edges and working quickly but carefully, roll up the enclosed filling (not too tightly or it will split during cooking).
- Tuck the ends under the strudel.
- Place onto a prepared baking sheet and brush or spray the strudel with any leftover oil.
- Sprinkle the extra caster sugar over the top.
- Bake in a preheated moderate oven for 20 minutes or until plump and golden. Allow to cool before serving, and serve sliced, dusted with icing sugar.